Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Tentetsutou, the Sword of Heaven

Tentetsutou, translated as 'The Sword of Heaven' is a katana forged from a meteorite. 

House Rule: A magical sword does not have to be named. But any sword that urns its name, becomes magical. 

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Kill Your Friends, Steal Their Bricks

That someone chose to make this makes my world a little bit happier.

Munchkin Quest LEGO by Guy H. and Crazy Bricks

Monday, May 4, 2015

The Girls of Talislanta

Different artists have drawn pin-ups of the many (and varied) races of Talislanta. It started as a joke, but it has become something of an institution to Tal fans. Many of the drawing are NSFW.  

Batrean Concubine, not sure who the artist is. 

Friday, May 1, 2015

Mazes and Minotaurs Website

Mazes and Minotaurs website containing both the original 1972 and 1987 rulesets. 
Not to be confused with the 1982 tv movie, Mazes and Monsters, but I'd play a crossover game in a heartbeat. 

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Do you like movies about gladiators?

We rented the "movie" Pompeii from the library. When it was over The Wife turned to me and asked, "Why did you do that to me?"

It wasn't even 'so bad it's good'. Sometimes you can really feel when a movie has been over produced and audience tested. Any sense of tension, sex or blood has been bleached completely away, which isn't the best way to go in a film about gladiators in ancient Rome against the backdrop of one of the most infamous volcanic eruptions of all time.

Kit, "you know nothing' Harignton plays Milo who, despite his Conan-like origin and reported skill as a gladiator, still grows up to look more like your sister's emo boyfriend.
He really gets 'Vampire Weekend', you know?  
Through an unlikely series of coincidences, he is forced to fight in the arena of Pompeii - at exactly the same time as the Roman Senator/General who wiped out Milo's childhood village just happens to be in town to ... buy the arena? I think that is his plan. Anyway, all of this happens during the same week as Pompeii's fateful eruption. A game but wasted Keefer Sutherland chews the scenery as best he can, but it mostly falls flat and a little fey. The love interest played by Emily Browning isn't given much to do except consistently look like a bland, confused baby bird.
Cheep! Save me! Cheep!
The whole thing is as boring as trying to come up with yet another simile for boredom. The gladiator fight scenes are rote and not nearly as exciting as any given fight in Game of Thrones, and by the time they actually get to the eruption, most of the CGI budget was spent on arenas and fireballs falling from the sky, that there clearly wasn't enough to make the actual eruption in any way spectacular.

So how much of the film is useful in a gaming setting?

Mostly this guy. Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaj plays the improbably named gladiator, Atticus (which means, 'man from Attica, or the Athens peninsula'. Does he look like he comes from Athens? That fact check me 30 seconds on Google. Professional screenwriting producers are morons).

He happens to be one of my favourite 'hey that guy!' actors, and he's great for character or NPC portraits.
This is is from a much better movie! Use this instead
And there are maybe a couple of screen shots of the city or area might help if you need something like that in a game, but there are lots of better films and even real life images you could use instead.
Definitely use this instead.
The most useful thing about the movie, game-wise, is the concept. As far as I know, there is no adventure module out there that involves a mission during some sort of destructive, city wide calamity, but there probably should be.

Final Recommendation?
Watch the Doctor Who episode 'The Fires of Pompeii' instead. Its much more fun, has a lot more ideas and it is considerably shorter.
Just watch this instead.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

The Prince of the Apocalypse

I swear that one of my old gaming group ran us through a variation of exactly this during an Amber campaign. So in honor of his birthday, dearly beloved, we post this here today 2 get through this thing called, life.
The Artist

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Savage RIFTS: Do the Rules Make the Game?

We played the shit out of RIFTS. In retrospect, that was the only way to play it. The whole thing was a masterclass in nineties awesomeness where you could happily mash together anything and have it still make sense in context. The premise of the ame was that a world-wide nuclear war creates so much death that the resulting psychic fallout re-opens the dormant, magical ley-lines that crisscrossed the glob. And where those lines crossed, extra-dimensional Rifts opened to allow anything to cross through. That was the whole point. Wanna play a psionic, cybernetic Elf? On RIFTS Earth, that was strictly amateur hour. 
Put this in the pilot seat of a mecha made of alien dragon hide, and you're getting closer. 
It was awesome.

It also had some of the worst rules I have ever played and we played it for years. I ran campaigns that lasted for months, I played in dozens of my buddy's games, we created spin offs (one was a fighting game we simply called Arena) ... and after all that and I could not even begin to tell you how it was played. We usually just rolled what we thought was best. I do remember that mega-hit points were called MDC, player characters were called OCC and RCC (big on acronyms), and that skills were percentile rolls, and that my main character was a four-foot round, teleporting circus acrobat that could summon a blazing psionic sword and I am absolutely not kidding about that. 

Show this to a member of my old gaming group, and they will cut you.
Things came to a head when we realized that even basic combat would take entire game-sessions to resolve, consisting of endless rounds of dice rolled in a race to see whose 6D6x100MDC mega-rockets would deplete the opponent’s 200,000MDC armour the fastest. I think the last straw was a fight were we realized that the entire battle was played out as two mega-alien-cyborgs standing five feet apart and just unloading nuclear missiles at each other.
Like this, only boring. 
The rules were clearly too fecked to play anymore, but by this point we'd spent thousands of dollars on supplements and had racked up some crazy gaming stories to bore our spouses senseless with when we get together for summer BBQs. So what did we do? One (clearly sexless) month, a buddy and I came up with a conversion system that took the glorious hot mess that was RIFTS into the relatively streamlined rules of our other main game; WEG D6 Star Wars.

Then we played the new system and it actually worked. In fact it worked better. WEG system has to take into account Jedi and Star Destroyers and Ewoks, so the system already has rules for scaling up or down, and this had the side effect of making humans and other 'squishy' (RIFTS' actual term for non-superhuman races) characters a playable option, probably for the first time since the game was published.
According to the official rules, this happens exactly six seconds
after you choose to play a regular human character. 
I think we played it for about a term. While it was fun, something about it just wasn't RIFTS. By streamlining the rules, the gonzo quality that had been part of the game was gone. It wasn't conscious decision, we just kinda stopped playing it and eventually none of my RIFTS books survived my cross country move.

Why bring this up?

According to the rumour mill RIFTS is going Savage Worlds. But will it survive? Just how linked are a game's world and it rule-system? Will new players even care that it used to have a completely unworkable rules system? Will it still feel like the same RIFTS to veteran players? This is going to be a very interesting development to watch.